“You know the Chick, she’s an animal lover.”
These words, uttered by PapaChick, are usually accompanied by an eye roll.
It’s true. I am an animal lover. Especially dogs. And birds. And all God’s creatures great and small.
As an animal lover, I am honored to share with you a guest post written by my friend and animal advocate, Kris Lamont. In the post below, Kris shares a very personal account of her efforts, along with her wonder dog Bean, to end breed bias against pit bulls through education, action, and advocacy. The raw emotion she expresses in her account of a recent experience working with dogs rescued from an alleged dog fighting bust exemplifies her determination to “fight the good fight.”
Fight the good fight. Those are words that I have been saying to myself for a long time.
It is something that I have always believed…fighting the good fight. I believed in standing up for the underdog, showing how great something is, trying to find the positive in the worst of situations or people. It’s not always an easy fight. And it’s one that I struggle with at times.
Almost 3 years ago I was ready to put those words into action.
I adopted a 5-month-old pit bull from a local shelter. My intention was to adopt a pit bull…to adopt Bean. I was ready to take on media sensationalism, people’s fears and skewed perception. I was ready to fight the good fight. I was going to prove to the general public how great this dog was. She and I were going to conquer the world.Bean smiles for the camera with her housemates Colby and Luna.
I had my plan. We enrolled in puppy training classes. She passed her Canine Good Citizenship test and her Therapy Dog International certification. We were on our way and seized any opportunity to be involved as a therapy dog team.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed more—more education, more focused advocacy, a better understanding of public perception. Though Bean was an awesome ambassador for the true nature of pit bulls, I needed more information, more involvement. And, I needed to better understand breed bias and discrimination toward these wonderful animals.Children love Bean and she loves them right back.
I fought not to get sucked into the bad that people believe and not to hate those that didn’t believe. Instead, I needed to educate them, let Bean educate them. Bean doesn’t use words but convinces people much more quickly than I do. She doesn’t hold a grudge and she doesn’t hate. I have learned so much from her.
In my quest to gain more information and knowledge, I discovered Hello Bully, a pit bull education, advocacy, and rescue organization. I learned there were people that felt the same way I did, that fought for the same things I felt were important, and loved a square-headed dog. Bean and I got involved educating, educating, and educating some more. The awesome people who volunteer with Hello Bully believed in Bean and me and helped us in our mission to fight the good fight.Bean serves as an ambassador for her breed with Hello Bully.
I recently had the opportunity and privilege to work with dogs that were confiscated from an alleged dog fight bust. The experience was overwhelming. It left me amazed, heartbroken, sad, and hopeful.
What do you mean that all people don’t love dogs as much as I do? What do you mean that people intentionally hurt dogs for entertainment? Why don’t all dogs go into a loving home where they are walked, fed, given clean, fresh water daily, and provided with a warm bed? How can it be that some dogs don’t know how to walk on a leash, or go up steps, or through a doorway because they are tied outside all the time?
My previously happy, little “a dog is a family member” bubble was busted. I had no coping mechanism for this. Ignorance is bliss…truly. It’s safe and warm and not sad.
I sat and watched the dogs, listened to them, gave them a kind word and friendly pat. How do they forgive so quickly, trust with everything they are, have a wagging tail, and lots of kisses?
I don’t deserve it. I am human and we (as humans) have hurt them. But they are willing to give me a chance…maybe because I listened to them, made a pact that I would be gentle, and gave them time to smell me.
It seems so simple but really, it is that simple.
BREATHE. I breathed, relaxed, felt for tension and backed off when they told me to. The dogs spoke loudly and clearly, I just needed to listen.
For some of the dogs their journey is just beginning and for some it is over. But they are ALL safe now. They have food and water and a soft place to sleep. I continue to be in awe of their ability to adapt.
The only thing I know how to do now, after my return, is cry. But crying doesn’t fix it. It doesn’t fix the fact that everyone doesn’t love a dog as I do, that dogs are used and abused for dog fighting, that every dog doesn’t make it to a good home with a warm bed, and that every dog doesn’t learn to go up steps and through doorways.
So I cry some more. I have cried every day for almost 2 weeks. I don’t know what else to do. I haven’t learned where to store it yet. My heart breaks for those that won’t have the opportunity to be a “normal” dog.
I have to continue to help. I have no other choice. I can’t be the one who just sits and does nothing.
Bean and I will continue to fight the good fight and we will continue to be the voice for the voiceless. It is our obligation to make this world a better place and know that the bad will always happen but the good has to be stronger.